Time, Seasons and the Moon – Alex Henderson, All Music Guide (AMG)
Linda Tate has a lot going for her — not only an impressive range, but also an abundance of warmth and charm. Influenced by Dianne Reeves and Sarah Vaughan, the Chicago-based jazz vocalist is very easy to like. But on Time, Seasons and the Moon, she tends to play it too safe — and that’s the main reason why this 2000 release is, for the most part, merely decent instead of excellent. Like so many jazz artists, Tate makes the mistake of picking too many standards that have been recorded time and time again over the years. Does the jazz world really need to hear yet another version of “Just in Time” or “It Might As Well Be Spring?” Sometimes, she will do something interesting with an overdone standard — her version of “From This Moment On,” for example, is slightly abstract, and she gives us a rare chance to hear “I Concentrate on You” turned into a caressing bossa nova. But a lot of the time her versions of standards are too safe and conventional. Thankfully, Tate also makes some less obvious choices — Dori Caymmi’s “Like a Lover,” Steve Swallow’s “Falling Grace” (which Brazilian guitarist/singer Paulinho Garcia adds Portuguese lyrics to), and Rupert Holmes’ “Moonfall” haven’t been done to death by jazz singers. The most exciting thing on the CD, however, is “Have You Seen the Moon?,” a haunting, East European-influenced pearl that boasts Johnny Frigo on violin and was written by pianist/Southport founder Bradley Parker-Sparrow. Occasionally, this CD is excellent. But most of the time, it is merely adequate — and Tate is way too talented to settle for adequate.